Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Santa went into the house for a shot of whisky but the elves had drunk him dry.
Just then the doorbell rang and Santa cussed on his way to the door. There was a little angel with a big Christmas tree. "Merry Christmas Santa”, said the angel, “Isn't it a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?”
Thus began the tradition of the angel on top of the Christmas tree.
Merry Christmas to those that celebrate it, Happy Hippopotamus to the rest of you :)
Thursday, December 20, 2007
This is also known as 'Fishing for Sympathy' or 'Chronic Exaggeration'.
When the patient is your boyfriend, he will exhibit the standard symptoms (such as an overwhelming desire for compassion) while simultaneously rejecting any and all efforts you make to placate him.
You are bidding on a rare chance to traumatize a treasured friend or relative with baffling, mind-numbing, mystery correspondence from abroad.
Here is the arrangement:
I will be spending the Christmas holiday in Poland in a tiny village that has one church with no bell because angry Germans stole it. Aside from vodka, there is not a lot for me to do.
During the course of my holiday I will send three postcards to one person of your choosing.
These postcards will be rant-ravingly insane, yet they will be peppered with unmistakable personal details about the addressee. Details you will provide me.
The postcards will not be coherently signed, leaving your mark confused, guessing wildly, crying out in anguish.
"How do I know this person? And how does he know I had a ferret named Goliath?"
Your beloved friend or relative will try in vain to figure out who it is. Best of all, it can't possibly be you because you'll have the perfect alibi: you're not in Poland. You're home, wherever that is, doing whatever it is you do when not driving your friends loopy with
Your target will rack their brains in the shower. At dinner. During long drives. At work. On the golf course.
"Who did I tell about the time I got fired by a note on my chair?" they'll ponder, "And where the hell is Szczeczinek?"
But wait, there's more.
To add to the sheer confusion and genuine discomfort, one missive will be on an original promotional postcard announcing the 1995 television premiere of Central Park West on CBS.
Another will be a postcard celebrating Atlanta's disastrous hosting of the 1996 summer Olympic games.
Your mark will be at a complete loss, desperate for answers, debating contacting people he or she hasn't talked to in years.
"I know this will sound weird," they'll say, "but by any chance were you in Eastern Europe ranting about cantaloupe... twelve years ago... right before some show with Mariel Hemingway debuted?"
When you decide to end the torment is completely up to you. If you can, I recommend owning up on 1 April 2008 - giving you nearly half a year of joy and a George Clooney-esque level of prankage. If you can't hold it in that long, I totally understand.
I think this is brilliant. I hope it isn't a spoof. "this will sound weird," they'll say, "but by any chance were you in Eastern Europe ranting about cantaloupe.." Hahahaha..
I needed 10 experts to explain to me the Bali climate agreement — and I was there! I’m still not quite sure what it adds up to. I’m not opposed to forging a regime with 190 countries for reducing carbon emissions, but my gut tells me that both the North and South Poles will melt before we get it to work.
“This is a problem of economic transformation, not environmental regulation,”"
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
There followed an extremely productive five-year collaboration between Ramanujan and Hardy. The two perfectly complemented one another's abilities: Hardy was a great exponent of rigour in analysis, while Ramanujan arrived at his results by what Hardy described as "a process of mingled argument, intuition, and induction, of which he was entirely unable to give any coherent account".
Through his work in Cambridge, Ramanujan achieved the recognition he had sought when he first approached Hardy, and in 1918 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (the first Indian to be so honoured).
The British climate, however, took its toll on his health. In 1917 he collapsed with a mysterious stomach complaint and was rushed into hospital, where doctors feared for his life. By late 1918 his health had slightly improved and in 1919 he returned to India. But his health failed again, and he died the following year at the age of 32.
Perhaps, just as we try so hard to instil a love of great writers in successive generations, we should be looking for more stories like that of Ramanujan, to inspire all our young people with a lasting love for the beauty of numbers."
He says he told his bosses: 'If we're right, we're looking at a sixfold gain. And since a housing market slowdown is not as big a long shot as that, we should take the risk.'
Lippman disputes that the derivatives the group of five helped create -- which banks packaged into CDOs -- caused the subprime crisis.
'The problems in subprime are what they are and derivatives did not cause them, 'Lippmann says. 'Derivatives enabled more CDOs to be created and the stakes to be bigger. But the transparency made people realize the problem faster.'
Others see things differently. Derivatives, or 'synthetics','are 'like wearing a seatbelt that allows you to drive faster,' says Rod Dubitsky, director of asset-backed research for Credit Suisse. 'The total dollar amount of losses, all these losses you're seeing, are from synthetics. No question, it changed the game dramatically.'"
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
"The question of just how long it should take to eat fast food is being answered by the burger giant McDonald's, which is making customers finish within 45 minutes or face a charge of £125.
One motorist, Jamie Thomson, told the Guardian of his experience at a McDonald's near Gatwick: "I ordered a burger, chips, a doughnut, coke and coffee. I sat in my car eating my lunch, and listening to the radio. After eating, I continued to sip my coffee for a time, and ate my doughnut. Then I left. All perfectly normal." He says he was in his car for about an hour.
Several weeks later, he received a letter from Civil Enforcement demanding £125, or £75 if the charge was paid quickly. At first Thomson, a businessman from Sussex, did not even realise that he was being charged for spending too long at McDonald's, as the notice gave only a partial address.
McDonald's told Thomson that the use of "enforcement methods" happened only in "extreme" circumstances. The company added: "At this restaurant we have stipulated that a member of the public may be parked for 45 minutes unless permission is given to stay longer by the duty manager."
McDonald's in effect washed its hands of the charge, saying it had been imposed by Civil Enforcement and the burger giant did not profit from it.
Thomson's charge has risen to £213. He has been threatened with court action and received a letter from a debt collection company. He said that neither he nor any member of his family would eat at the chain again."
fantastic customer service, hats off to them.
Maybe all the players really know that keeping the ship afloat until Christmas is really the best they can hope for. Christmas means a lot in this country. It represents all Americans' old hope that miracles can happen. Bums turn out to be Santa Claus. Old curmudgeons are transformed overnight into loving uncles. Angels save us when we jump despairingly into icy torrents. And Goldman Sachs executives pass out multi-million-dollar checks to the wizards who "innovated" an ingenious way for the rest of their country to commit financial suicide."
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Radiohead’s pay-what-you-choose gambit didn’t just set off economic debates. It should also establish 2007 as two kinds of tipping point for recorded music."
full article at nytimes
I hope it is a tipping point for music sales and distribution.. roll on 2008
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world—the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous—is his dog.”
“Gentlemen of the jury, a man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he can be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that had no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains.
When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace, and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.“
ATTRIBUTION:GEORGE GRAHAM VEST, “Eulogy on the Dog,” speech during lawsuit, 1870.—Congressional Record, October 16, 1914, vol. 51, Appendix, pp. 1235–36.
angrybear taking a break from money
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
This all started with a column in the New York Times by Ben Stein.. And thus the storm was unleashed. Felix Salmon, who’s hatred of Stein runs so deep he dissects his efforts weekly in his Ben Stein Watch post, got stuck in. As did….everyone else: Paul Krugman, Dean Baker, Naked Capitalism, Information Arbitrage, Dealbreaker - the list of those queueing up to have a pop at Stein’s work, summarised here again by Salmon, goes on and on and on.
The trouble is that while its peers have been forced to write off billions and kiss goodbye to their chief executives, Goldman has sailed sublimely on. Which somehow works in Goldman’s favour. If there are Stein-like shenanigans going on at Goldman, you can bet there are at the other banks. Goldman are just doing it better. And if you accept that Goldman are doing that better, then why so hard to accept they’re just doing the usual trading, risk management, market analysis line of work better as well?
Stein’s allegations aside, we have this week had two alternative explanations for this disparity.
John Plender in the FT argues that the culture of partnership has survived Goldman’s move to a listed company with the accompanying emphasis on mutual surveillance in the common interest. Risk management at Goldman is a collective game - and the status, prestige and pay ascribed to people working in control functions is on a par with those running businesses. Plus Goldman’s board is heavier in banking and risk expertise than some of its rivals, with an executive core. Plender thinks that the bank’s governance played a role in its plain subprime sailing.
The other explanation was offered by the Jeremy Palmer, UBS’s EMEA investment banking chief executive, when put on the spot by the Treasury select committee. Why the committee of MPs asked did they lose money on the back of subprime when Goldman cleaned up?
Different decisions were taken at different times in different organisations which led to different outcomes.
Which has the advantage of being simple, uncontroversial, and undoubtedly true."
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
It is bad enough to have been selling this stuff. It is far worse when the sellers were, in effect, simultaneously shorting the stuff they were selling, or making similar bets.
Here is my humble hypothesis: Is it possible that Dr. Hatzius’s paper was a device to help along the goal of success at bearish trades in this sector and in the market generally?"
Monday, December 03, 2007
Brown is preparing to auction more than 160 presents received by Blair during his decade in office and to donate the money to charity. The sale, which is expected to raise about £150,000 for good causes, will include 20 watches – including 16 given by Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister – 18 handwoven Middle Eastern rugs, a G8 dressing gown and two Omani daggers.
Also due to be auctioned are dozens of tokens of respect from foreign leaders, including a £4,000 Segway electric scooter presented by the King of Jordan, a nativity scene presented by Yasser Arafat, and £195 bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild from President Chirac of France."
So far, "Brown received a bomber jacket from George W Bush during his visit to Camp David last August, but failed to wear it in Bush’s presence."
2 new watches a year.. not bad hey?